Marshall calls Bess top all-time route runner

October, 14, 2010
10/14/10
6:19
PM ET
When it comes to running pass routes, Brandon Marshall claims Miami Dolphins teammate Davone Bess is elite.

[+] EnlargeDavone Bess
Richard C. Lewis/Icon SMIMiami receiver Davone Bess is tied for second in the NFL in third-down receptions with 10 for 109 yards.
Marshall doesn't merely mean on the Dolphins' roster or in the game today.

Marshall means of all-time, as in alongside Jerry Rice and Torry Holt and Marvin Harrison and Wes Welker and Steve Largent and Paul Warfield and Raymond Berry and ...

"In all of football," Marshall said of Bess, "he's one of the best route runners in all of football ever, not just in today's receivers. Ever."

While Marshall's assertion sounds quite hyperbolic, there's no denying Bess is one of the NFL's most underrated receivers. He wasn't drafted out of Hawaii in 2008 because he wasn't considered fast enough (40-yard dash in 4.7 seconds) or big enough (5-foot-10, 190 pounds).

"He plays big, man," Marshall said. "He's an all-around wide receiver."

Bess had to become a masterful route runner to make it in the pros. His meticulousness -- like Greg Camarillo for Miami before him -- is why Bess has been heavily involved in the Dolphins' offense since they signed him and why they traded Camarillo last month.

Bess' compact size actually helps him as a route runner more than the gazelles who lope up the sideline and rarely need to worry about gaining separation through craftiness or precision.

Bess has been one of the league's top third-down targets since last season. He's tied for second in the NFL in third-down receptions with 10 for 109 yards, one touchdown and eight first downs.

Marshall leads the league with 11 third-down receptions. Anquan Boldin is the only receiver with more third-down conversions than Bess.

In Week 4, Bess had one of his bigger games before heading into the bye. He made eight catches for 96 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots on Monday night.

"When you put in the tape, this guy's amazing, what he's able to make his body do," Marshall said of Bess. "He gets open almost every single play."

"The guy doesn't catch [76] balls last year just because. There's a reason for that, and he's on pace to probably catch almost 100 balls this year [84]. I'm excited for him, and I'm excited to be able to be on the other side and on the same side as him."

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